AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – The rate of inflation remains high in the U.S., and it continues to impact businesses and consumers in our area.

Augusta University Economics Professor Simon Medcalfe said recent interest rate increases are meant to discourage spending and lower the inflation rate.

 But it could be years until we start seeing see those impacts.

“If we strip out some of those what we call volatile items like food and energy, the core index is actually declining a little,” Medcalfe said. “But, it’s still higher than we would like as economists and it’s certainly higher than the fed5’s target range for inflation.”

He said the wages in the area haven’t increased with the price of goods, affecting employment.

“Our employment levels and our unemployment levels haven’t recovered as well as the rest of the state in general,” he said. “And so that’s a concern just in terms of the overall efficiency of the economy.”

Local staffing companies have been trying to make up for this, and told us they’ve seen a major increase in the number of people looking for part-time work.

“We’re seeing people coming in and applying for new jobs that already have jobs,” said Isaac Kelly, the Vice President of Aiken and Augusta Staffing. “They have a full-time position and are needing something to supplement that now. They’re looking for something that would work around their current hours.”

Even retirees are looking for jobs.

“In the last four to five months, we’ve seen more applicants come in that have retired out of their career,” Kelly said. “They’ve come out of retirement because they need to now supplement their retirement plan. So, they don’t have enough money to make it.”

While Kelly appreciates the business coming in, he said filling full-time positions has been hard, and he hopes this changes sooner rather than later.

WJBF is having a Giving Your Best Donation drive to help curb these prices and the need for necessities in the community.

Items needed are, shelf/dry milk, baby wipes, laundry detergent, dishwashing detergent, toilet paper, toothbrushes/toothpaste, bath soap, deodorant, shampoo, feminine hygiene products.